Chime Communications sees 10% income boost despite PR decline

Chime Communications has reported a 10% income boost for the first half of 2011, but saw a 5% drop in PR revenues.

Lord Bell: chairman of Chime Communications
Lord Bell: chairman of Chime Communications

The owner of Bell Pottinger, Good Relations and Harvard saw overall income rise to £78.4m against £71.1 during the same period last year. Operating profit rose by 13% to £14.5m, from £12.8m in the first half of 2010.

The group made a number of acquisitions during the period, notably ICON and Golden Goal in its sports marketing division.

This resulted in organic growth being somewhat lower than the headline figures, with both organic operating income and profit rising by 5%.

The overall growth was driven by the strong performance of its sports marketing businesses and advertising division.

Public relations, Chime’s largest division, saw operating income shrink 5%, from £34.4m to £32.6m during the first half.

The company said that PR was ‘affected by the slow down in geopolitical work as a result of the turmoil in the Middle East, a reduction in government communication work and the impact of severe debt problems in many countries.’

Bell Pottinger stopped work on its lucrative contract with the Economic Development Board of Bahrain earlier this year due to the political instability and emergency rule in the state.

The company said it saw strong profit performance in financial PR, corporate and consumer PR and Middle East comms work, which compensated for a reduction in its main US government contract.

The group’s two largest clients represented 20.4% of operating income and have both been retained since 2003.

Lord Bell, Chairman of Chime Communications, commented: ‘These are impressive results achieved in an uncertain global economic and political environment, which impacted some parts of our group. 

‘The global market and global economy are becoming increasingly volatile and we are not immune to this continuing lack of political, social and economic stability, particularly in our public relations business. However, our advertising business is gaining market share and our sports marketing business is well placed to become the global leader at a time when sports revenues are increasing.’

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